If you are forming an LLC or a corporation in Mississippi, the first thing you need to do is a business name search. This search checks all the registered business entities in the state to see if the business name you want to use is available. Like most other states, Mississippi requires each LLC or corporation registered in the state to have a unique business name. So, before starting your business, it’s important to run a business entity search to verify if the name is available through the Mississippi Secretary of State before registering your LLC or Corporation. There is no fee to search.
How to do a Mississippi Business Name Search
Step 1: Visit the Business Name Database
Go to the Mississippi Secretary of State website.
Step 2: Search your Business Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the “Business Name” field. In this example, we will look up “Lawn & Order” and click “Search.” It is recommended to use the “Starting With,” “All Words,” “Any Words,” “Sounds Like,” and “Exact Match” to look at all possibilities and make sure your name is available.
Step 3: Review Results
Searching the registered names, we get a list of all the businesses with the words “Pool Guy.” To be able to register a corporation or LLC name in Mississippi, the name must be distinguishable from the other names registered. If you were looking to form an LLC with this name, you wouldn’t be able to since there is already one registered.
To find more information about each of the registered business names, click on the “Details” button. In this example, we will look up “Pool Guy LLC.”
While the name “Sew What” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “The Pool Guy of Jackson” or “The Best Pool Guy” is. Searching for those business names brings a result that says, “No Matches Found.” While final approval is still with the Secretary of State, it is likely available to register.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Mississippi. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Secretary of State will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Business Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Good standing means all reports and filing fees are up to date. Dissolved means the business name may be available.
- Effective Date – Date the entity became active in the state.
- Principal Office Address – This could be the business’s physical address, or it could be an address where business records are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal, or tax notice need to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agent, so their home address isn’t publically listed.
- Officers & Directors – Name, address, and title of officers
Something to keep in mind is that even though each Corporation and LLC name must be unique, it may not stop someone else from using that name since business names for a sole proprietorship or partnership are not registered by the Secretary of State and are not required to be unique. To protect your business name, consider getting a trademark.
Related: Should I trademark my business name?
How to Register a Fictitious Business Name (Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships)
Registration is optional for a sole proprietorship or partnership operating their business under a name that is different from the owner’s legal name, though there are several reasons to register. To obtain one, a business will file for a Fictitious Business Name, which is also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name, or Trade Name.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Mississippi?
In addition to the name being unique, the name of the LLC must include a special designator such as Limited Liability Company, LLC, L.L.C., etc., in addition to not using restricted words such as bank or insurance, unless the entity is licensed to operate as such.
Can an LLC name be reserved?
If there is a name you want but are not ready to register the LLC, you can file the Reservation of a Business Entity Name with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The name reservation will hold a name for up to 180 days, at the cost of $25.
How do I form a Mississippi LLC?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Mississippi LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in Mississippi, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, is a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
Also, be sure to check for Mississippi business licenses and permits to make sure the business is legal to operate.